Between the seasons

Ron Konowitz on Mount Marcy last Friday. Photo by Phil Brown.
Ron Konowitz on Mount Marcy last Friday. Photo by Phil Brown.

You know we’re in between seasons when you go backcountry skiing one day and canoeing the next.

Last Friday, I skied Mount Marcy with Ron Konowitz. It was so warm than I stripped down to my T-shirt on the ascent. On the summit, we met Keith Kogut, a music teacher in Saranac Lake, who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts.

Despite the warm temps, the Van Hoevenberg Trail had plenty of snow, at least above Marcy Dam. A few rocks were starting to show on the section along Phelps Brook.

The view from my canoe on Saturday.
The view from my canoe on Saturday.

As noted in an earlier post, the high-water bridge across the brook was washed out a few weeks ago. The water was too deep, swift, and cold to wade through, so on the ascent, we bushwhacked for an hour and picked up the trail again high on TR Mountain. On the descent, we found ourselves on the opposite side of the brook (having crossed a mile up on another bridge), so we bushwhacked to the Marcy Dam Truck Trail.

The Van Ho trail was in great shape for skiing. Unfortunately, I heard that post-holers trashed the trail on Saturday. There is no excuse for this. Hikers should know that the regulations still require snowshoes or skis at higher elevations.  There is still plenty of snow up there. Don’t ruin it for others!

On Saturday, I drove to Utica to spend time with my family. On the way, I stopped to canoe South Inlet, following the broad channel from Raquette Lake to the small cascades where the tributary spills out of the woods. It felt like summer, though the bogs that line the inlet were still a drab brown and yellow.

I observed a pair of common mergansers—one male, one female—in one of the side many channels. As I approached for a closer look, they took flight.

Spring is definitely in the air.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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